Beautiful, At Night –  The A.C.C. (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There have been some memorable A.C.C’s. The American Chemistry Council, Air Combat Command, of course and most famously St Francis of… But my favourite has to be this new musical meeting of minds that was formed when Lowlands main man Ed Abbiati hooked up with alt-country stalwart Stiv Cantarelli. Beautiful, At Night is the result of this, a collision of alternative country swagger, low-slung, bluesy rock and roll and punk attitude: music made between the desert and the downtown and to be filed somewhere between The Stooges and Springsteen in the record collection.

It says something of the drawing power of these two sonic gun-slingers that the great and good of the scene quickly wandered in from the high-plains, dusted themselves off and joined the musical posse. People like Green On Red and Dream Syndicate organist Chris Cacavas, The Mandolin Brothers bassist Joe Barreca and Cantarelli’s fellow Silent Stranger Antonio Perugini again picking up the drum sticks.

As you might expect the album is a raw and raucous affair, one that is built from razor wire guitars and industrial blues rhythms, emotive and imploring vocals, crashing and skittering drums, haunting organ washes and doom-laden bass lines. One Life is filled with stiletto slivers of staccato guitar and you can almost see the ghost of Nikki Sudden floating around above it, I Want You To Like Me almost touches on glam rock, yet is drawn back from the brink by a dark urgency and musical thousand yard stare and the title track is a boisterous, billowing sonic mushroom cloud spiralling into the sky above East Nashville.

It’s Ennio Morricone if he had grown up playing in The Gun Club, it’s Johnny Thunders in Neil Young’s plaid shirt, or perhaps the other way around, it’s mutated blues that has crawled from the swamp and taken on human form. It’s simultaneously the antidote to Music City’s slick showmanship and to peacock-poseur art-punk. It’s muthaflippin’ brilliant.

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